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consideration, what Estate was in the person in reference to whom the material question is to be predicated; and my only regret is, that the Work is not more complete than it will be found, notwithstanding the inconceivable labour which has been employed

on it.

The Essay on Merger, in the third volume of Conveyancing; indeed the several volumes of the Practice of Conveyancing, and the Essay on Abstracts of Title, have preoccupied in detail many subjects which might with propriety have been introduced into an Essay on the Quantity of Estates. Each work, however, is rendered more simple by the division.

R. P. January 1820.

PREFACE

TO THE

FIRST EDITION.

TO THE READER. TO arrange and digest the Law on the Quantity of Estates, and by this means to assist young Gentlemen on the commencement of their studies, and facilitate their progress, is the avowed design of this publication. It is the production of a young man, who, young as he is, and weighty as the objection to a perusal of his book may be on that account, can with confidence affirm, that he has studied to supply, by industry and application, what he wants in age and maturity of judgment.

Whatever may be the fate of his book, the Author will cheerfully submit to it; and to the opinion of those Gentlemen of the profession who are distinguished for their superior abilities, and the liberality of their conduct, he will readily subscribe ; for he would not be understood to arrogate any merit from the execution of the work, or flatter himself that it has any excellence to recommend it. The method and the arrangement are wholly new: the subject is of importance; and the attempt has by those, who are best acquainted with the difficulties of a writer on legal topics, been deemed arduous; indeed, so arduous has the task been thought, that no attempt has been made to the extent of this Essay; and without the least danger of contradiction, it may be asserted, that there is no one book in which the subject collectively has received a full discussion and systematical arrangement. These considerations unite to operate on the mind of the Author, to raise in him a distrust of

success.

To complete this volume, imperfect as it will be found, much labour, and more reflection, and some practical knowledge were required; and by those only, who from experience know the difficulties to be encountered by a writer on a subject of Law, so extensive, as that, which this volume embraces, can an adequate judgment be formed of the pains which have been taken. Page.

The cases from the present time, up to the beginning of the reign of Edward the Third, a period of about 400 years, have been occasionally consulted in the books in which they are reported at large ; and in a variety of instances, the law is stated from the most antient of these books; and rules of construction, framed from a great number of particular cases, are now, for the first

time, proposed. Though this Essay shall not prove to be of any assistance to those for whose use it is intended, it is hoped, that it will be allowed that disputable points are fairly stated, and that as to these points the reader is always cautioned against the danger of falling into

error.

To enter fully into a detail of all the motives by which the Author was actuated in compiling the Essay contained in this volume, would be to trouble his readers unnecessarily; and to descend to particulars of what he has endeavoured to do, would, in all probability, be to show by his own admission how much he has failed in the attempt.

Some inaccuracies of expression, and errors in punctuation, which arose from want of sufficient leisure to attend to the correction of the press (and will be found principally in the four first Chapters, including the Introduction) will be corrected in the next edition, should the Author be encouraged to hope that a second impression will be acceptable; and to that edition, a full and comprehensive Index, with an alphabetical Table of the Cases, will be added.

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